Judge won't release records in 1988 Kansas disappearance

A judge has denied a request from the parents of a Kansas teenager who disappeared nearly 30 years ago to release some of the investigative records in the case.

Alberta Leach said she and her husband are "devastated" and considering an appeal. They contend the investigation into the disappearance of their 17-year-old son, Randy Leach, was botched, The Kansas City Star reports. They sued last year, alleging that authorities violated the Kansas Open Records Act by refusing to release the records created before 1993.

Leavenworth County District Judge David King ruled that the records "contain no information" that would "promote the public interest." The ruling was released Sunday.

But the family is "not giving up," Alberta Leach said Monday.

"We had hope, have had hope for 30 years," she said. "We got to keep that up."

According to the Leaches' lawsuit, a 2014 report indicated that the FBI and Kansas Bureau of Investigation had a suspect in the 1990s but the person died in prison. The same person had been a suspect in two 1990 homicides that occurred 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the Leaches' home.

Randy Leach was last seen April 16, 1988, at a party in Leavenworth County. The case was classified as a homicide in 2002, though no one has been charged and his body was never found.

Maj. Jim Sherley, the undersheriff at the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office, commended the judge's decision. Sherley said the ruling will enhance the likelihood that the case is eventually solved because it protects the identities of confidential witnesses.

Alberta Leach said she and her husband, Harold Leach, of Linwood, had hoped the judge would have ruled differently. They wanted the judge to provide the family an opportunity to find a clue in the documents that would lead to answers.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com